The PokerStars Sunday Million is exciting each week as the $1.5 million guarantee is the biggest in the business and draws some of the best players in the world to its virtual tables. But every once in awhile, the Stars team throws a curve ball to the online poker community that warrants amazing results. November 15th was one of those days.
The guarantee was increased...by an even million. The $2.5 million guarantee sets itself apart from any other weekly tournament on its own merits, but the attention it drew this week was something for the history books. The guarantee was not just surpassed by a few thousand dollars. It was pummeled and thrown by the wayside when an astounding 18,283 players came out for the $200 + $15 event. And the subsequent prize pool? $3,656,600. Oh, and not only were the top five finishers set up to claim six-figure payouts, but the top prize was set at $365,670.77. Wow.
But even more "wow" was the fact that the numbers set a record. The most players ever to grace the tables of a single Sunday Million tournament with a $215 entry requirement, according to statistics guru Bob at PokerStars, was on December 28, 2008 during World Record Week when 16,260 players signed up to create a $3,252,000 prize pool. That event was won by lp_SakiSaki who took home $331,378.80 for that victory and who incidentally finished 16,495th in tonight's event. The November 15 Sunday Million thereby set a record with its numbers.
Largest ever $215 Sunday Million prize pool: $3,656,600
Pop the PokerStars champagne, and pour me a glass!
While the impressive record was settling in, the tables were still running, and as the action neared the 3:00am ET mark (nearly 10.5 hours into play), the players at the three remaining tables were slowing down the action as the money jumps increased and the final table payout amounts were in sight. But after a little more than 30 minutes, the bubble was in play after the 11th place elimination of R33_GTR. And it eventually came down to nederen_dk pushing all-in with [As] [Td] from the big blind and Guldlemmen4 calling with pocket jacks. The board came [3h] [2h] [7d] [Qs] [Kc] to allow the pair to hold and eliminate nederen_dk in tenth place with $13,712.25 as the consolation prize.
Play was then set to begin at the final table amidst Level 40 with 500,000/1,000,000 blinds and a 100,000 ante, and the player lineup was as follows:
Seat 1: ZyeD3 (22,839,804 in chips)
E-Daddie pushed his last 7,878,832 all-in from late position with [Ah] [Qs], but it was MATPOC28 calling from the small blind with the better [As] [Kh]. The board gave both players two pair when it came [Ks] [8c] [6s] [Qc] [Ad], but E-Daddie was on the losing end of that battle and became the first to leave the final table, taking $21,939.60 for the ninth place finish.
The all-in moves kept coming, as waWe doubled through chip leader Guldlemmen4 and call110 did the same through MATPOC28. But it was this hit for MATPOC28, courtesy of waWe, that put his stack in severe jeopardy:
Six hands later, MATPOC28 pushed his last 2,419,701 all-in from the big blind with [Js] [Ts], but original raiser Guldlemmen4 called with [As] [Qc]. The board produced [4c] [3h] [Ad] [3d] [Kh], and MATPOC28 was eliminated in eighth place with $32,090.40.
Some of the seven remaining players sought to launch into a chip-chop payout discussion, but a single "no" ended that attempt.
Players returned from a scheduled break to some small-ball action, though The Omaholic sought a place to move his last 6,075,611 chips and found it with [Ac] [Jh]. The caller was m8675309a holding pocket tens, and the flop converted that hand into a set when it came [7s] [Jc] [Th]. The [2c] turn and [5d] river cards changed nothing, leaving The Omaholic out of the tournament in seventh place with $54,840.00.
By that time, Guldlemmen4 was running away with the chip lead, as his stack boasted of more than 52 million. The closest competitor was m8576309a with little more than 37 million, and the rest of the players were working with at least 2-to-1 chip deficits. But one hand changed everything when Zadman5311 doubled through said chip leader:
Another attempt at deal talks was made during six-handed play after the stacks shifted a bit, and all agreed to see the chip-chop numbers. Upon their relay by Demidov, there was one protester who sought more than the allocated amount, and discussions ensued. Several players were more than willing to give a few thousand dollars to make the concession, and the numbers were finally solidified. With $30,000 set aside for the eventual winner, the payouts were set as follows:
Seat 1: ZyeD3 (15,519,804 in chips) = $144,353.10
And on the second hand back from the break, the action exploded.
Guldlemmen4 led out with a raise, but waWe immediately pushed all-in, and m8675309a came over the top with another all-in move. Guldlemmen4 called all-in, and m8675309a had both other players covered. The hands were shown as:
m8675309a: [Qs] [Qh]
The board came down [2c] [Kd] [9h] [Td] [Jd] with enough drama for everyone's mama. The straight came for m8675309a, who took the entire pot, eliminating Guldlemmen4 in sixth place with $177,650.76 and waWe in fifth place with $205,477.38.
Zadman5311's comments of "omg" and "lmfao" summed up what many were likely thinking.
Two hands later, ZyeD3 doubled through call110, but ZyeD3 wasn't done. It only took another two hands to see the player push all-in again, this time with [Ac] [7c]. But ZyeD3 found that m8675309a had [As] [Qd] and called from the big blind with it. The board delivered assurance for m8675309a when it came [Qc] [5h] [Jd] [4c] [4d], and ZyeD3 was eliminated in fourth place with $144,353.10.
The action did not stop. The very next hand found Zadman5311 moving all-in as the first to act, and call110 decided to call all-in for his tournament life from the big blind with [Ah] [8d]. Zadman5311 showed [3d] [3h], which held up as the board came [9d] [Ks] [4c] [Jc] [Kc]. That left call110 out in third place with $250,037.00.
Suddenly, heads-up play was underway, starting with the following stacks:
Seat 2: Zadman5311 (62,452,506 in chips)
Through a series of relatively small pots and consistent pressure, Zadman5311 chipped up and into the lead. Over the course of the first 30 hands of heads-up play, Zadman5311 more than reversed the starting stacks to take more than a 3-to-1 lead.
But m8675309a decided to make an all-or-nothing push with [Ts] [8s] against the [Jd] [9h] of Zadman5311, and it worked when the board hit [Ts] [8h] [Jh] [4h] [2d], giving the short stack two pair and allowing the stacks to sit nearly even.
However, this hand nearly ended the tournament:
One double-up was in order for uber-short-stacked m8675309a, but the second attempt didn't work out as well. m8675309a pushed all-in for 7,769,952 holding [Qd] [Tc], and Zadman5311 called quickly with [As] [4h]. The board came [7h] [2d] [8s] [2h] [Jh], and the ace kicker worked to eliminate m8675309a in second place with $200,844.74.
And the winner of the biggest $215 Sunday Million in history was Zadman5311, who claimed the prestigious tournament title along with an oh-so impressive payout of $282,662.86. Congratulations!
Sunday Million Results for 11/15/09:
1st place: Zadman5311 ($282,662.86)*
*Numbers based on a six-way chop agreement
For more information on ways to register and qualify for upcoming Sunday Million tournaments, visit the Sunday Million page.